How do you spot a platform? It's easy - it’s when you give away one thing while getting paid (and making sure others get paid) for a second thing. Facebook is a platform, since it offers free social media, gets paid for ads, and makes sure other people get paid through ads.

And in the cloud industry, we have a lot to learn from them.

Turning the cloud conversation to platforms

Over the past few years, the cloud conversation has largely been focused on technology - things like governance and automation - and rightly so, but that discussion is pretty much done, and now we need to start talking about platforms.

They're not new. The world’s mobile communications infrastructure is a remarkable platform, and, considered purely from a technology standpoint, it's a huge achievement. However, in the telecom industry, we didn’t make our platform multi-tenant. We didn’t make it accessible or convenient. We didn’t offer any technology options that enabled other people to explore new business ideas over the top of it – and yet companies like Amazon Web Services (AWS) showed up and created their own platform that did so anyway.

Now we have a stark choice in front of us – this time are we going to put in a platform that other people can use?

Cloud applications in transportation, health care, government

Human beings have a strange habit of assuming that things will basically stay the same, often in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

The reality is that the infrastructure we use today - both mobile and cloud - to take pictures of our food and laugh at cat videos is going to enable very significant things that we just can’t imagine today. There will likely be applications in transportation, health care and government, to take only three examples, which nobody has thought of yet, and which will make a huge contribution toward making the world a better place.

Millions of new traffic sources in the Internet of Things

These applications are going to be orders of magnitude larger than anything that we see on existing infrastructure, and if they come to full fruition, then the current players in the space start looking pretty small relative to the possibilities that will be created.Ericsson-hyperscale-cloud-platform-Jason-Hoffman.jpg

Throw in the Internet of Things (IoT) and you’re potentially talking about thousands – or millions – of new traffic sources. What happens if a hundred new IoT ideas show up all at once, each the size of Netflix, and they’re all uploading data?

We're going to be ready with the right kind of platform. Are you?

To explore these ideas in more depth, please download my article  The Wisdom of Clouds from the latest Ericsson Business Review.

Download the article by Jason Hoffman

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Jason Hoffman

Jason Hoffman is the Head of Product Area Cloud Systems at Ericsson. Previously he was the Head of Cloud Technologies where he's responsible for product, architecture and engineering and prior to that Head of Product Line, Ericsson Cloud System and Platforms in the former Business Unit Cloud and IP. Prior to that he was a founder and the CTO at Joyent, a pioneering high performance cloud IaaS and software provider, where he ran product, engineering, operations and commercial management for nearly a decade. He is considered to be one the pioneers of large scale cloud computing, in particular the use of container technologies, asynchronous, high concurrency runtimes and converged server, storage and networking systems. Jason is also an angel investor, strategy and execution advisor, venture and private equity advisor and on the boards of the Wordpress Foundation and New Context, a Digital Garage company. Jason has a BS and MS from UCLA and a PhD from UCSD. He is a San Francisco native that now lives in Stockholm with his wife and daughters.

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